12 Mile Delta Queenstown Trail to Sam Summers Hut

12 mile delta queenstown trail to sam summer hut waterfall

12 Mile Delta Queenstown Trail to Sam Summers Hut

Queenstown is surrounded on all sides by some of the most spectacular hiking trails imaginable. Those hiking trails wind their way around lakes, up rivers, through forests and of course into the mountains. There are so many that you would need years to visit them all but one short trail that’s well worth a look is the 12 Mile Delta Queenstown Trail leading to the Sam Summers Hut.

The 12 Mile Delta to the Sam Summers Hut is a short easy walk that follows the 12 Mile Creek up into Queenstown’s amazing backcountry. This short bush trail will have you surrounded by Queenstown’s flora and fauna and steps you back in time as you gaze upon the 80-year-old Sam Summers Hut that to this day has been repaired as it was originally built.

Although this is not an official trail and is, in fact, part of the larger Mount Crichton Loop Track, this shorter version is a great option!

If you have a few spare hours or are planning a trip from Queenstown to Glenorchy, then the 12 Mile Delta Queenstown Trail is the perfect place to get off the beaten path! Here’s everything you need to know before you go!

Where Does the trail to the Sam Summers Hut Start?

The trail officially starts from the Mount Crichton Loop carpark which is located along the Queenstown to Glenorchy road about 20km’s from Queenstown. You can find its location on Maps.me or Google Maps but if you keep an eye out on your left about 2 minutes past Wilson’s Bay you will see the sign!

The car park is large and I have never seen it completely full, however, if it is don’t worry because the 12 Mile Delta campground is located just before the carpark. Here you can also park your car and walk directly from the campground. Allow an extra 20 minutes each way for this option. This is perfect if you’re staying in the campground or are planning on joining the Bobs Cove Trail before or after!

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the sign for the mt critchon loop track
Follow the signs!

Head in the Right Direction

As mentioned above, this trail is not an official trail however it is a shorter version of the Mount Crichton Loop Track. You can easily find the track by walking along the Mt Crichton Loop Track until you reach a bridge. Here it is clearly signposted and you will need to cross the bridge and follow the river upstream until you reach the Sam Summers hut.

The trail is clearly marked the whole way and is also very well maintained.

the 12 mile delta queenstown trail bridge
This bridge is the beginning of the trail!
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How long is the trail?

It takes around 45 minutes to get to the Sam Summers Hut and around 30 minutes to return back from the Mt Crichton Loop car park. It does take longer to get there as you need more time for photos and it’s slightly uphill. The walk is shaded almost the entire way.

What You’ll See on the Track

To me, this section of trail (from the 12 Mile Delta Queenstown to the Sam Summers Hut) is a great way to enjoy a short hike and see some pretty cool landscapes with historical significance.

Here are a few of the things you’ll see along the way!

Sam Summers Hut

The Sam summers Hut is one of the highlights of the trail. This small hut was built back in 1930 and was an old gold mining hut. The hut has maintained its originality and is truly an amazing site to see.

The Sam Summers hut is actually a DOC managed hut and you can stay overnight for absolutely free! It is by first come first serve basis and only contains 3 beds. However, be aware this hut is very run down so don’t expect a good nights sleep.

The visit to the Sam Summers hut was an interesting one and nearby to the hut, there are some informative signs that talk about the life of Sam Summers and his family. It’s truly amazing that he lived out here even in the coldest winter months.

the outside of sam summers hut
The outside of Sam Summers Hut
inside of sam summers hut
The inside of the hut! Would you spend the night here?

Sam Summers Hut Waterfall (or Crichton Waterfall)

Queenstown is not renowned for its spectacular waterfalls but that doesn’t mean none exist. The Crichton Waterfall located right by the Sam Summers Hut and is a classic example of that. This large waterfall is surrounded by lush vegetation and is very picturesque.

There are a few trails to explore the waterfall however please be careful as its a pretty high waterfall!

12 mile delta queenstown trail to sam summer hut waterfall
The Sam Summers Waterfall! Isn’t it gorgeous?!?
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Historical Tunnel

Along the trail just before you reach the Sam Summers Hut is an old gold mining tunnel. This tunnel is actually safe to walk through and is just a large trench that passes through the rocky landscape. There are a few informative signs at the tunnel that explain a little bit about the history of the area.

What to bring

Other than the obvious of water, snacks, sunscreen, and a camera, I do recommend taking bug repellent. This is because of the sandflies that hang around the river. I made the classic mistake of leaving it at home and the sandflies really left a couple of itchy bites!

As much as Bailey and I love long multi-day hikes that get you so far away from civilization that you begin to become primitive, we also enjoy those short hikes that take less than half a day but offer some really unique and amazing things to see. The 12 Mile Delta Queenstown to Sam Summers Hut is just that and it’s a great trail we both highly recommend checking out!
– Daniel

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